A history-based framework of servitization and deservitization

Emanuel Gomes, David Lehman, Ferran Vendrell-Herrero, Oscar Bustinza

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Purpose – To develop a history-based framework of servitization and deservitization.

Design/methodology/approach – The study draws on three history-based management theories, i.e., industry lifecycle, strategic pivoting, and strategy restoration, to develop a conceptual framework of how servitization and deservitization pivots influence firm performance in different stages of the industry lifecycle. A series of examples involving configurations and reconfigurations in production illustrate the theoretical propositions.

Findings – The proposed framework predicts that servitization pivots positively influence firm performance in the ferment phase, but this effect gradually diminishes as industries advance into transition and mature phases. In contrast, the framework predicts that deservitization pivots negatively influence firm performance in the ferment phase; this effect, too, becomes negligible in the transition phase but positive in the mature phase. Moreover, the proposed framework predicts that deservitization pivoting outperforms servitization pivoting in mature servitized industries to the extent that such pivots are restorative in nature, thereby suggesting that deservitization may represent a strategic opportunity for firms in mature industries.

Originality - This study highlights the role of history-based management theories in enhancing our understanding of servitization and deservitization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-745
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number5
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2021


  • Industry lifecycle
  • deservitization
  • history-based management theory
  • servitization
  • strategic pivoting
  • strategy restoration


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